Don’t American Drivers Become Wiser with Age?

You would think that drivers are less likely to grab the headlines due to a collision as they gain more experience, but older motorists are actually more at risk.

The infographic below, from our friends

See full infographic here

shows that 20 American adults aged 65 and over die everyday in motor vehicle crashes in 2016, which is 14 more fatalities than the daily average among teenagers in the same year.

To be clear, time makes senior drivers far wiser than younger motorists. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adult drivers tend to use seat belts more frequently, to avoid hitting the road when the conditions are less safe, and to steer clear of drunk driving more often. And yet, nearly 800 senior drivers suffer from injury in traffic-related accidents on a daily basis. Why is that? The Insurance Information Institute (III) has an explanation.

The III, as per the Governors Highway Safety Administration, believes that older drivers are involved in higher crash rates because of impairments in vision, cognition, and motor function. The eyes go bad as a person ages; cognitive processes, such as attention and memory, decline as a person develops more health problems and deals with the side effects of medication; and decreased flexibility and slowed reflexes are the consequences of the physical changes an aging person experiences.

Since the number of senior drivers has been increasing over the past decades and is expected to retain its upward trajectory in the foreseeable future, TRIP, a nonprofit focusing on national transportation research, is calling for roadway safety improvements to allow older American drivers to contend with fewer hazards when traveling behind the wheel. Ride-sharing services and self-driving vehicles are also holding a lot of promise for mobile non-driving senior individuals.

Will transportation policies evolve soon enough to address the unique needs of the fast-growing road user population before more senior drivers lose their lives in car crashes? Hopefully, American regulators are not too old to learn new tricks.

For now, check out the following infographic to learn more facts about motor vehicle accidents in the United States.

Tony Arevalo


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